The big news in pharmaceutical marketing this week is the fact that Congress is set to investigate the advertising for the drug Vytorin on the grounds that it's misleading. You might think -- shameless corporate apologist that I am -- that I'd be shocked and appalled by this blatant abuse of Congressional power. Note, in fact it's just the opposite.
First of all, you know the ads right? They're the ones that explain how there are two sources of cholesterol: food and family. So they offer some amusing images of people that look like food, along with clever lines like, "You don't just cholesterol from eating beef Wellington, you also get it from your grandfather... Wellington." etc. That's fine, except when they have lines like this "You don't just get cholesterol from eating a ballpark frank, you get it from your uncle... Frank."
Unless my understand of genetics and heretibility is totally wrong, there is no way -- repeat: no way -- to inherent a gene from your uncle, barring some sort of weird familial relationships. Now obviously, you can manifest a gene inherited from your grandfather that's also displayed by your uncle (Frank), but that's a totally different thing.
So yeah, I'm not shocked that these commercials are now being investigated. Of course, the real harm is the damage these spots are doing to our national understanding of genetics.